There’s something about Mary in Coogee

The Daily Telegraph (England), via (Australia), Jan. 31, 2003
By Michael Cazzulino

Once it was simply a leisurely trip to the beach; today it’s a religious experience.

Between the wet swimming costumes and sand-filled towels, revellers at North Coogee also are clutching beachbags filled with cameras, rosary beads and Bibles.

During the day, they stand three- and four-deep gazing at what many believe is an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, a handful of sceptics also are on hand, seeking to explain away the figure as simply a combination of the white picket fence, the skyline and the afternoon sun, which illuminates the figure so that it is visible 100m away.

But their voices are drowned out by others intoning prayers, chanting rosaries and reading Bible passages.

Yesterday, Lenn Stezovski, a Macedonian Orthodox, was among those claiming to have seen the vision for himself. “I couldn’t see her at first but as I got closer, she appeared,” he said. “She had her hands outstretched and I prayed to her because I believe in it.”

Similarly, Catholic teenagers Chad Areiji, 14, and his cousin Jimmy Boumoussa, 14, visiting the beach with Chad’s 9-year-old sister Joelle, were instant converts.

“She’s wearing a blue robe on the outside and a white robe on the inside,” Chad said.

Coogee resident Janet Langden said she had visited the site several times over the last week.

“It was fantastic, just unbelievable,” she said. “Some people see her, some don’t. I just want to sit here and look at her.”

But there was at least one doubting thomas among the believers.

“I haven’t seen anything,” said English tourist Angela Scott.

“I was standing here for ages before I realised what was going on. I thought someone had slipped off the rocks or something.”

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